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Author Topic: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!  (Read 4928 times)

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Offline naigon

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Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« on: February 25, 2014, 07:03:00 PM »
Please welcome the MaxAmp(TM) into the NEC line of products!



The MaxAmp(TM) is the answer to those that want the super loud sound but still want to maintain the ease of having a single battery setup. When wiring this amp on the main board and running the speaker from it, the output will be increased by a good amount, allowing for a nice loud saber even in Cons or other nosier environments.

How does it work?
By wiring the audio signal and mute signal from the board (and power and ground), any speaker could be hooked to this board instead of the Igniter Mini(TM) or Spark(TM) board, which will allow for louder sounds.

Here is a diagram of the simple setup for the MaxAmp(TM) [click for full size]



What is the shape/size of it?
The module being only 0.64" x 0.70" is quite small; it is even smaller than the TruDrive(TM) break-off board, and since it only has components on the top side it is extremely thin. Further, the corners can be ground down to make it more circular, and then can be placed in the hilt vertically. This allows for virtually endless install possibilities.

Here are a couple pictures of the board next to the TruDrive(TM) and Igniter Mini(TM).





How does it sound?
To try and give you an idea of how it actually sounds, I've run an audio test with Igniter(TM) original, Igniter Mini(TM), and Igniter Mini(TM) with the MaxAmp(TM) module. The test consists of installing a 28mm Railmaster non-bass speaker into a piece of MHS pipe. I then hooked up my condenser mic exactly 1" from behind the end of the MHS test saber piece. Here is a picture of the speaker setup:



Then, I ran each of the three board setups through this speaker and mic setup, and recorded some of Father's Son(TM) for a comparison.


Igniter(TM)


Igniter Mini(TM)


Igniter Mini(TM) w/ MaxAmp(TM)

For each test the physical mic settings were untouched. After recording those raw sounds I put them in a row and made a wav file, then converted to MP3. The only editing I did was to trim out white noise and put them into one file; otherwise the sounds are raw from the mic.

The following wav file has all three in a row (Igniter, Mini, MaxAmp(TM)). The "Father's Son(TM)" sound marks where the next setup starts.

Audio Test Results

From the results it is clear to hear that the Mini has a bit better quality audio than the Igniter(TM). The Igniter(TM) is a tiny bit louder, but they are actually pretty close (closer than I thought they would be). However, from the instant the "Father's Son(TM)" quote plays and then the ignition comes in it is clear that by far the MaxAmp(TM) is much louder than either of the either two, even with only one battery! And it still maintains a nice clean sound like the Mini, though the Mini does accentuate the higher tones a bit more.

Further, I did up a picture from the audio program showing the height differences of the wav forms, where greater distances will imply more loudness. I measured the biggest peak in the sequence before the height lines I drew. The picture is below [click for full size]:



From this picture it is clear to see that the MaxAmp(TM) is 1.5 times the height of the Mini, and still a great deal louder than Igniter(TM). This was also confirmed from the wav file, where the MaxAmp(TM) sounds louder than both of the other two.

In conclusion the MaxAmp(TM) is the loudest of the bunch by far, and most likely the loudest thing on the market.

Can it get better?
Yes! Not only can you just use the MaxAmp(TM) to get more volume with one speaker, but you can still hook up a second speaker from the original board and have a super loud speaker setup! The best way to do this is to run a passive low-pass filter to the TCSS bass speaker from the MaxAmp(TM), and then hook up either a 28mm Railmaster, 27mm Railmaster Bass or 20mm TCSS speaker to the board. I did the middle of the three for my Naigon Master V2 (well now V3, I'll make a post on it soon) saber, but for now here's a pic of the speaker setup. The railmaster 27mm fits nicely backwards in the TCSS speaker holder:



I've also included a wiring diagram for this setup as well. I'll be adding it into the manual soon, but for now you can find it here [click for full size]:



Are there any drawbacks to this thing?
Like any good thing there are some drawbacks. The main thing is the extra space required, especially when doing two speakers. The other main drawback is that as you can see from the wiring diagrams it requires soldering to small surface mount components on Igniter Mini(TM) as the audio signal and mute signal are not available as a pad, at least not currently. With these two drawbacks and because as it was shown the default Igniter Mini(TM) sound are so good I expect that many of you will not really need this module, and that the default sound from the Mini/Spark is good enough since I've just shown that it is pretty loud. However, for anyone that cons a lot or just has to have the loudest saber ever, this is for you!

Will it work with other boards?
It obviously works with Mini, and thus with Spark(TM) as well. It does not work with Igniter(TM) as it requires 3.7v to operate (less than 5 specifically).

As for non-NEC products, it should work, though you would need to know where to solder the two wires, and if the other board supports audio shutoff by grounding. You may have to wire to the CPU directly and might need a N-channel mosfet/NPN transistor with a pullup to get the audio shutoff (aka audio amp mute) to work (you can always just hook the audio shutoff to power and the amp will always be on, but that wastes power and you may hear some anomalies in the audio when it is just sitting there). Again you definitely need to ask the manufacturer before using this product with it.

I need it! How much does it cost, and when can I get it?
The MaxAmp(TM) will cost $40.00 plus shipping. I'll be putting it in the store by this weekend; Jury Duty has really been slowing down my overall progress on things!

Thanks again everyone, Godspeed and MTFBWY!
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 07:19:42 PM by naigon »
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Offline Corran Horn

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2014, 07:11:45 PM »
I'm sorry, I can't hear you over how AWESOME that sounds.  ;)

"It's only stupid if we die doing it, otherwise it's heroism." -Corran Horn-

Offline IndustrialAction

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2014, 08:22:07 PM »
I'm working on finishing up a saber with the new board in it. Here's some in-progress shots of the chassis wired with a green prototype board. This houses all you need and still fits on top of an 18650




Offline Gil Gamesh

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 09:00:19 PM »
What are the power requirements of this extra board?  How does it affect runtime on a set of batteries?  This would be an additional draw on the battery to take into account when figuring out led setting I would think.  If an 18650 setup without this gives you say 40mins runtime, does adding soley this board drastically cut down the runtime to say 10-20mins due to the extra power needed to power the amp, or is it more slight of a drain giving maybe a 30min runtime?  What about with 14500's or others?  a 14500 currently on a mini with bright settings on an X4 led running 2 die parrallel for the main blade (non red) and utilizing 2 for the noise when the saber hits stuff (r + g) and no additional accent leds only gives me a range of 18-23minues, or an average of 21minutes.  Board gets somewhat nervously warm, but that's about it.  with an 18650 in the same setup, I imagine longer straight runtimes but get uncomfortable with the heat the board puts out after about 12-14mins straight runtime.  Does this board affect the current soundboards rate at heating up at all?

Sorry for all the questions.  Just curious, as loudness vs runtime could be a big factor for cons and such. 
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Offline IndustrialAction

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2014, 08:57:15 AM »
It is basically like adding an accent LED. If you're using the recommended 3400mAh 18650 by AW (AW 18650 Protected 3400 mAh Rechargeable Lithium Battery) then you'll still get nice long run times. 14xxx batteries really aren't recommended for any set-up. In all likelihood, if you can fit an Igniter Miniā„¢, you can fit an 18XXX or 17XXX. I have noticed negligible heat in testing using 27mm and 28mm speakers. I am installing it in a build now using 20mm speakers but haven't tested them yet myself. It also has built-in thermal protection (both the amp and on the board) as well as integrated click and pop suppression.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 09:03:25 AM by IndustrialAction »

Offline COUNT DOOKU

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2014, 09:08:55 AM »
Cool idea. I know many year ago there were experiments with a dual speaker setup with acceptable results. Glad to see something making that easier to do for the folks who have to have ear splitting sabers. :)

Quick Q for you Naigon, why not just integrate the Amp into your main board offerings, much like plecterlabs has integrated the free floating pex into the new version of their boards. Is this something you plan to release when you do a PCB update? Every bit of space counts for sure, and just having a few more pads on the main board would make life much easier I imagine.

Offline IndustrialAction

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2014, 09:11:23 AM »
I don't want to speak for Scott but he's on jury duty and won't see it until tonight most likely.

As far as I know, it will probably be on-board in future versions of the board whenever we get to that point

EDIT: of course, there are advantages to having it off board too. You can put it where it fits, it can have a nice big heatsink and it can still be installed in tight places (like in my chassis pic)
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 09:23:02 AM by IndustrialAction »

Offline naigon

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2014, 06:24:25 PM »
What are the power requirements of this extra board?  How does it affect runtime on a set of batteries?  This would be an additional draw on the battery to take into account when figuring out led setting I would think.  If an 18650 setup without this gives you say 40mins runtime, does adding soley this board drastically cut down the runtime to say 10-20mins due to the extra power needed to power the amp, or is it more slight of a drain giving maybe a 30min runtime?  What about with 14500's or others?  a 14500 currently on a mini with bright settings on an X4 led running 2 die parrallel for the main blade (non red) and utilizing 2 for the noise when the saber hits stuff (r + g) and no additional accent leds only gives me a range of 18-23minues, or an average of 21minutes.  Board gets somewhat nervously warm, but that's about it.  with an 18650 in the same setup, I imagine longer straight runtimes but get uncomfortable with the heat the board puts out after about 12-14mins straight runtime.  Does this board affect the current soundboards rate at heating up at all?

Sorry for all the questions.  Just curious, as loudness vs runtime could be a big factor for cons and such.

Pat is correct; at 5v this amp will draw well less than 20mA so at our 3.7v you will be drawing less than the power of one accent LED. It should not be a concern at all. I should have mentioned that in the original post, but since it isn't a big issue I forgot to put it.

Cool idea. I know many year ago there were experiments with a dual speaker setup with acceptable results. Glad to see something making that easier to do for the folks who have to have ear splitting sabers. :)

Quick Q for you Naigon, why not just integrate the Amp into your main board offerings, much like plecterlabs has integrated the free floating pex into the new version of their boards. Is this something you plan to release when you do a PCB update? Every bit of space counts for sure, and just having a few more pads on the main board would make life much easier I imagine.

Thanks for the compliments Count! I know Sunrider and a couple others did some work with two speakers, and I wanted a robust solution that anyone could implement, and hope that I succeeded here.

To answer you question specifically, I would always want the second amp to be a break off board, as the more optional boards that are added the more flexibility in installs you can have. For instance, for someone trying to install this into a Parks hilt, they are not going to have the room for two speakers so why would they want a second amp on their board taking up valuable space? Thus I always design to have the most modularity so that the main board in its most basic form can be as small as possible.
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http://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/index.php?topic=29490.0

Offline Gil Gamesh

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2014, 06:39:48 PM »
To answer you question specifically, I would always want the second amp to be a break off board, as the more optional boards that are added the more flexibility in installs you can have. For instance, for someone trying to install this into a Parks hilt, they are not going to have the room for two speakers so why would they want a second amp on their board taking up valuable space? Thus I always design to have the most modularity so that the main board in its most basic form can be as small as possible.

Are the onboard amp and this additional amp the same size/capacity, or the the maxamp a larger amp than the one onboard (thus allowing a louder output)?  I think the Count was curious, if this is a larger amp capable of outputting more power to the speakers, would it find it's way onto the board in lieu of the lesser one currently on it?  Then it could be as simple as a volume setting change for louder sound vs another board and wiring.

I don't think there's all that much valuable space ON the board many people are concerned with (its how much space the boards +additional wiring leading to and from the boards take up), so having a few additional components (maybe even underside mounted) would do away with the need for another seperate board.  Then, you could have both sound options available on a single board without needing another board, and merely choose whether you want to hook up for single speaker sound or go for a louder option. 

With all the unused space on the trudrive board, could there not have been a re-ordering of the layout and implementation of the maxamp components onto that board?  Or even on the underside/backside of an existing board?  again, only curious, thanks for the response to the previous q's :)
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Offline theta03

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2014, 07:14:50 PM »
So now instead of  loud sabers we can have Crazy Loud sabers, fun.

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2014, 08:18:55 PM »
With all the unused space on the trudrive board, could there not have been a re-ordering of the layout and implementation of the maxamp components onto that board?  Or even on the underside/backside of an existing board?  again, only curious, thanks for the response to the previous q's :)

I don't think there's any "unused space" on TruDrive, IIRC, the "empty" space is a big heatsink. MaxAudio, I believe, has the same sort of thing going on

Offline Boxster

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2014, 11:03:19 PM »
So now instead of  loud sabers we can have Crazy Loud sabers, fun.

I love crazy loud lightsaber!!! :)) I have non now but soon, I hope!

Offline BOBA FETT

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2014, 01:59:21 AM »
Nice idea!

But with sabers getting smaller and smaller all the time, I don't see the advantages of adding more satelite boards and speakers to an install...

I prefer to have everything on the main board. And with new versions, those get smaller too.



Offline naigon

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2014, 07:30:18 PM »
Nice idea!

But with sabers getting smaller and smaller all the time, I don't see the advantages of adding more satelite boards and speakers to an install...

I prefer to have everything on the main board. And with new versions, those get smaller too.

Thanks for the compliments! Actually, your second sentence is exactly the reason for having satellite boards - for people like you that want to install a small board with no extras into a very small hilt, you wouldn't waste extra money or extra space to buy a second speaker and the MaxAmp(TM), thus having the smallest possible install. However, for those designing a super loud hilt to go to cons (which wouldn't be a super small hilt since that person was designing for volume), she would be able to buy this and have the ultimate sound with two speakers utilizing the low pass filter. It is fair to state that adding two amps on the main board would make it much larger, and would sacrifice folks like you that only wanted one amp, thus why the MaxAmp(TM) being a separate board is a good thing as it keeps the main board at its minimal size for folks wanting the minimal amount of features.


To answer you question specifically, I would always want the second amp to be a break off board, as the more optional boards that are added the more flexibility in installs you can have. For instance, for someone trying to install this into a Parks hilt, they are not going to have the room for two speakers so why would they want a second amp on their board taking up valuable space? Thus I always design to have the most modularity so that the main board in its most basic form can be as small as possible.

Are the onboard amp and this additional amp the same size/capacity, or the the maxamp a larger amp than the one onboard (thus allowing a louder output)?  I think the Count was curious, if this is a larger amp capable of outputting more power to the speakers, would it find it's way onto the board in lieu of the lesser one currently on it?  Then it could be as simple as a volume setting change for louder sound vs another board and wiring.

By larger I'm not sure if you mean physical size or output, so I'll answer both.

Physically the package sizes are about identical, but the amp on the MaxAmp(TM) requires about 5 or so more components and better heat distribution, so it requires more overall board space. For that reason I would never add it and the original amp together on the same board as it would take way too much space. In the future this amp may find its way on the board as the primary amp as well, though I would still allow use of the MaxAmp(TM) because the real benefit is when using two separate speakers from two separate amps with the low-pass filter, as that provides bar-none the most full sound possible when a hilt is properly back-vented.

In terms of output, the amp on MaxAmp(TM) has more output (2.7w vs 2w) and has a higher efficiency rating. On the down side it requires a bit more space due to the components and costs a bit more.

Thanks everyone for the support!
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 09:56:32 AM by naigon »
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Offline cannibal869

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Re: Can you hear me now? With MaxAmp(TM) you can!
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2014, 02:59:35 PM »
I'm sorry... I can't hear you over the sound of the saber...  ;) ::)